Iraqi Dies As Mob Rushes Police, U.S. GIs
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ A stone-throwing mob of ex-Iraqi soldiers charged U.S. forces and Iraqi police Saturday in a protest over jobs and pay. One protester was killed and 25 people were injured, including two policemen.
In similar violence involving former Iraqi troops in the southern city of Basra, British forces shot and killed at least one protester. Capt. Hisham Halawi said the Basra protest broke out when ex-soldiers acted on a false rumor that Saturday was the last day they would receive stipend payments.
``An Iraqi was shot and killed by members of the coalition forces, and the incident is under investigation,″ Maj. Niall Greenwood said in Basra.
At al-Yarmouk Hospital in the capital, Dr. Abbas Jafaar said one ex-soldier died from a gunshot wound to the head and 25 people were hurt during the Baghdad riot.
Witnesses said U.S. forces, who have a large base near where the violence erupted at a former military airport in central Baghdad, fired shots in the air and Iraqi police fired into the crowd.
After the protest spilled into the upscale Mansour district, where four liquor stores were burned along with an Iraqi police car, the mob returned to near the American base. An Iraqi police colonel spoke to the crowd, persuading the ex-soldiers to line up in an orderly fashion so they could be paid by the Americans.
The demonstrators complied and stood quietly in line under heavy U.S. guard. Helicopters were overhead, and three tanks could be seen.
Also Saturday, the military reported a 4th Infantry Division soldier was killed and one was wounded in an attack at Sadiyah, 60 miles northeast of Baghdad. The patrol was hit with small arms fire and a rocket-propelled grenade at about 11:45 p.m. Friday, spokeswoman Maj. Josslyn Aberle said.
The death brought to 88 the number of American soldiers killed in hostile action in Iraqi since President Bush declared major combat over on May 1. Since the beginning of the war, 317 U.S. soldiers have died in the country.
In another incident late Friday in the town of Adduluiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, Iraqi resistance fighters launched mortars at an American base, killing a 12-year-old Iraqi girl walking nearby and injuring a woman and her infant, according to Aberle.
An Iraqi was also killed in a raid just south of Kirkuk when he ignored orders to surrender and tried to flee the site of a weapons cache. Soldiers found 10 launchers for rocket propelled grenades hidden in a haystack along with nine rockets, Aberle said.
South of Baghdad, the Polish military contingent that has taken control of a large swath of Iraq found four French-made Roland surface-to-air missiles earlier this week, a military source with the U.S.-led coalition said Saturday.
Iraqi newspapers said the missiles were made in 2003, but the military source, who would not be identified, said that was impossible to confirm because a Polish weapons team had already destroyed the missiles. The source said communications problems were making contact with the Poles difficult.
The United Nations imposed sanctions on weapons sales to Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
The French Foreign Ministry debunked the reports, saying France had obeyed the embargo and not authorized any weapons, or even spare parts, for Iraq since after July 1990.
Northeast of Baghdad in the town of Kir Kush, nearly 700 recruits completed their basic training Saturday as the first battalion of a new Iraqi army, a small step in the U.S. effort to replace the giant force that disintegrated under U.S.-British attack six months ago.
The Bush administration proposed to spend $2 billion to create a 40,000-member Iraqi military by the end of 2004. A second battalion begins the nine-week course on Sunday.
In a gritty desert training camp, about 50 miles northeast of Baghdad, the graduating battalion marched in review Saturday, high-stepping past dignitaries including the U.S. civilian administrator for Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, and Iyad Allawi, president of the interim Iraqi Governing Council.
Iraq’s U.S. military occupiers are looking for more international and Iraqi help as they try to suppress anti-American resistance forces, staging small but deadly bombings and hit-run attacks.
The new trainees will not join the Americans in direct combat with the insurgents, however. Instead, U.S. officials say, they will be assigned to help the U.S. 4th Infantry Division with security on the Iranian border, 30 kilometers east of here.
The new battalion, a light motorized infantry unit, has 65 officers and over 600 men. Most were members of the former Iraq army under Saddam Hussein. Privates will receive $60 a month.
American money is buying guns, uniforms, vehicles, and almost everything else for the new force _ including 40,000 AK-47 assault rifles bought for $59 each from an undisclosed source.